Monday, August 8, 2011

Muskoka is Getting Well Aware

Did you know that the Muskoka Heritage Foundation delivers the Well Aware program? This program helps protect drinking water and groundwater resources.

Well Aware’s trained representatives conduct visits, known as “guided self-assessments,” with well owners to help them learn how to manage their own wells. The visits are voluntary, non-regulatory, and confidential.

The program was developed to meet the need for consistent, reliable information about caring for private wells. Homeowners who receive poor results from well-water tests contact Well Aware as a starting point to learn how they can improve their water. Property owners new to living on a well can also contact the program to learn how to protect and conserve their water supply from day one.

On each Muskoka area visit, Matt (above right), our local Well Aware representative, asks a series of questions from a standardized assessment tool to determine how the well is being managed. Afterwards the advisor provides information and contacts that will help the homeowner follow up on recommendations made during the visit. Recommendations typically include well upgrades to meet current safety standards, removing potential contaminants from the well area, testing the water regularly (like in the photo below) and pumping septic tanks.
Well Aware is the first large-scale private well stewardship program in Canada. It has won the 2009 Sustainable Community Award for Water, awarded by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and CH2MHill.

Besides well home visits, Well Aware distributes a booklet and video, operates a website, and has developed many useful factsheets. Well Aware focuses on education and awareness on well owners to help empower them to make positive changes to protect their primary source of drinking water.

Are you Well Aware?

Contact Rebecca Francis at Muskoka Heritage Foundation to book your well visit!

Well Aware is a program of Green Communities Canada (GCC). It is delivered in Muskoka by Muskoka Heritage Foundation, the local GCC member organization, and in 21 other Ontario upper tier municipalities by 14 GCC member organizations.

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